Wednesday, 3 July 2013

10 American-Inspired Recipes for 4th July

It's Independence Day, and what better way to celebrate than to round up 10 of my favourite American-inspired recipes? Whether it's tender, sticky ribs in a glossy barbecue sauce or an Elvis-inspired peanut butter and banana fried sandwich that takes your fancy, have a look at these. Click on the title to go to the recipe...

BBQ Slow-Cooked Pork Ribs

bbq ribs

Sticky, sweet and achingly tender, these pork ribs are cooked in the slow cooker and then caramelised in the oven for a few minutes once they're done. Serve with coleslaw, or cornbread, or make up some potato wedges to go alongside. Whatever you serve with them though, you'll need a napkin.

New York Hot Dog
american hot dog mustard onions

Nothing quite screams 'America' to me than a frankfurter in a bun, drizzled with American yellow mustard and topped with dark, fried onions. Top with saurkraut too, for American authenticity, or go for tomato ketchup. Or why not try these other American-inspired dawgs.... BBQ and coleslaw, and the Southwestern-style chilli dog (one of my personal favourites).

Elvis Peanut Butter Brioche


banana and peanut butter brioche french toast maple syrup

Elvis sits at a trinity of American legends along with James Dean and Marilyn Monroe. And with his glittering jump suits, big aviator sunglasses and curled top lip, he deserves his place there. It's said that in the 1970s he used to enjoy a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich or two and I developed a modern style of the sandwich using brioche. I like to think he would have enjoyed that too. Uh-huh-huh *strikes karate kick*.

Peanut and Vanilla Cupcakes

Peanut and vanilla cupcakes

The combination of peanuts and vanilla remind me of that other American sandwich, the Fluffernutter. If you don't know what it is, it's a toasted sandwich made with peanut butter on one side and marshmallow fluff on the other. It's divine. And the same flavours are paired in these cupcakes. Gorgeous with some crunchy nuts piled on top, too.

Pulled Pork and Coleslaw


pork and coleslaw roll

Pork that's been barbecued until it actually just falls apart when you pull it is thought to originate in the Southern states of the US. It's brushed with a barbecue marinade which makes the outside shiny and sweet, while the inside stays moist and incredibly tender. Pigs were first introduced to the Americas in the sixteenth century, and a barbecue is first mentioned there in the early seventeenth (it didn't take them long to put them together). I make mine in the slow cooker and cook it slowly in beer. Serve in a roll with coleslaw.

Sticky Sweet Potato Wedges



sticky sweet potato wedges

I know that sweet potatoes are not the same thing as yams, but I couldn't resist. You do find sweet potatoes in a lot of American cooking, and the fact that these are crunchy, sweet and go so well with fried chicken, fish and, well, practically anything, means I had to include them here.

Maple-Glazed Bacon


maple-glazed bacon

It was the American classic of bacon, pancakes and maple syrup that made me do it. This sticky-sweet bacon is perfect for sandwiches or for slipping into burgers.

Oreo Cupcakes

Oreo Chocolate Cupcakes

Oreos are the best selling cookie in the whole of the United States, and since they were created in Manhattan in 1912, 362 billion have been sold. I worked on some Oreo recipes last year for Yahoo! Lifestyle and made a milkshake, some truffles and these gorgeous Oreo cupcakes.

Pumpkin Pie
pumpkin pecan pie with whipped cream

I actually only made - and tasted - my first pumpkin pie last year. I know, I don't know why I waited so long. It's gorgeous, made easier though by buying canned pumpkin from the shop. If you've never made pumpkin pie then don't wait any longer - you'll be surprised at how simple it is. This one is topped with a rubbly cinnamon-pecan nut topping - perfect for providing a salty-sweetness that works so well with the creamy pie filling. A spoonful of whipped cream is essential.

Fried Chicken
crispy breadcrumb chicken

Good ol' Colonel Sanders. And we don't even care that he wasn't a 'real' military colonel. He bought a cafe in 1930 and started serving up fried chicken to punters, in Kentucky. Now, there are over 800 restaurants around the world, serving up Kentucky Fried Chicken. There are lots of versions of fried chicken - some with cheese, others with herbs and some copycat 'KFC' recipes.

Happy Independence Day!